Shopping centre extension go-ahead

A multi-million pound extension to the Market Gates shopping centre in Yarmouth has been approved by council planners, with new high street names now set to be attracted to the town.

A multi-million pound extension to the Market Gates shopping centre in Yarmouth has been approved by council planners, with new high street names now set to be attracted to the town.

Yarmouth Borough Council's development control committee gave consent to the planned new building, which bridges Temple Road, adding three large stores and nine smaller units.

The façade will be refaced in polycarbonate, making the structure look lightweight and designed to act as a backdrop for a changing lighting scheme.

Caroline McDade, associate partner for surveyors Drivers, who represented Market Gates owners Miller Developments at the meeting, said: “The work will be done in such a way that only one summer season will be affected.

“The lighting on the outside can be changed to reflect the seasons or whether it is day or night. We feel this will fit in well with the current regeneration work in the town.”

The upgrade is aimed at ushering in a new shopping era for Yarmouth and attracting high street names currently missing from the town.

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In the report to the committee, national historic buildings experts English Heritage raised concerns about the design and questioned some of its elements, saying it had strong reservations about the “bland” treatment of the bridge element and about the use of polycarbonate, preferring to see glazing.

It describes the proposal as harsh, bland and oppressive, but Miller says it has already revised the scheme to address English Heritage's concerns.

In the same report the borough architect describes the building as bulky and crude, but says the damage was done in 1976 when it was built.

Members were told about neighbour objections ranging from traffic congestion to loss of light. There were also concerns that Market Gates will lose 50 parking spaces

Ward councillor Michael Castle said: “It is a real improvement for Yarmouth and we need this kind of investment in the town. The car park has been under-used for many years and I do not think losing the spaces will make a difference.”

Members voted to approve the scheme.